The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford Series #8)

The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford Series #8)

4.5 2
by Charles Todd

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World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford goes to dangerous lengths to investigate a wounded soldier’s background—and uncover his true loyalties—in this thrilling and atmospheric entry in the bestselling “vivid period mystery series” (New York Times Book Review).

At the foot of a tree shattered by shelling and gunfire,


World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford goes to dangerous lengths to investigate a wounded soldier’s background—and uncover his true loyalties—in this thrilling and atmospheric entry in the bestselling “vivid period mystery series” (New York Times Book Review).

At the foot of a tree shattered by shelling and gunfire, stretcher-bearers find an exhausted officer, shivering with cold and a loss of blood from several wounds. The soldier is brought to battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s aid station, where she stabilizes him and treats his injuries before he is sent to a rear hospital. The odd thing is, the officer isn’t British—he’s French. But in a moment of anger and stress, he shouts at Bess in German.

When Bess reports the incident to Matron, her superior offers a ready explanation. The soldier is from Alsace-Lorraine, a province in the west where the tenuous border between France and Germany has continually shifted through history, most recently in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, won by the Germans. But is the wounded man Alsatian? And if he is, on which side of the war do his sympathies really lie?

Of course, Matron could be right, but Bess remains uneasy—and unconvinced. If he was a French soldier, what was he doing so far from his own lines . . . and so close to where the Germans are putting up a fierce, last-ditch fight?

When the French officer disappears in Paris, it’s up to Bess—a soldier’s daughter as well as a nurse—to find out why, even at the risk of her own life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Not even a life-threatening bullet wound can stop Bess Crawford in bestseller Todd’s compelling eighth whodunit featuring the dogged English nurse (after 2015’s A Pattern of Lies). At an aid station in France in October 1918, Bess encounters an injured, unidentified French lieutenant, who yells in fluent German after being attacked by a fellow patient, a Scotsman. Though Bess’s matron suggests that the Frenchman is from German-speaking Alsace-Lorraine, Bess isn’t so sure. Two weeks later, Bess is in the trenches when a German sniper shoots her in the side. Sent to Paris to recuperate, Bess pursues the matter of the French officer’s identity at her peril. She finds an ally in old acquaintance Captain Barkley, an American who’s ostensibly in the city searching for deserters. Bess keeps pushing her luck, but Todd (the mother-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd) makes her persistence plausible and delivers an interesting answer to the mystery. Agent: Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Richmond Times-Dispatch on A QUESTION OF HONOR
“A gripping whodunit haunted by the brutal realities of war and graced with the selfless determination of Bess to uncover the truth.” on AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE
“Bess is a character with depth and complexity, an army nurse during that awful war, so, like that series, not only intricate mysteries but engrossing historical fiction.’
Margaret Maron
“A richly realistic depiction of both the era and people who lived through it.”
Library Journal
In her eighth outing (after A Pattern of Lies), World War I nurse Bess Crawford spots on the streets of Paris a former French Army patient now wearing an American uniform. She had previously witnessed this wounded soldier speaking German. Driven to investigate, Bess sets out, putting her life in danger.
New York Journal of Books
Praise for The Shattered Tree: “The Shattered Tree is an enjoyable and quick read-well worth the time.”
All About Romance
“A fast, engrossing, and entertaining read....The mystery has excellent pacing, giving readers just enough clues to keep us absorbed in the story while withholding sufficient information to keep us from solving it before reaching the end.”
“[A] riveting mystery… It is almost as if the Great War has become a secondary character.”
“Todd’s meticulous research... illustrates the toll the war has taken on the battle-weary military as well as the nurses and doctors, the sacrifices of the residents, [and] the citizens’ valiant struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy…. A vivid and personal look at WWI.”
Nancy Thayer
“[Charles Todd’s] books are like Sherlock Holmes detecting a crime in Downton Abbey, with more gravitas.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Bess Crawford Series , #8
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.

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The Shattered Tree 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
dibbylodd 5 days ago
The writing team that is Charles Todd continues to do an amazing job recreating the reality of the time and place. These books are, for me, the history classes I wish I had had where I have a real sense of why knowing about this matters. Here is the reality of war with medical services taking care of anyone who comes to them. Questions aren't asked about nationality, unless there is a poSsibility that a patient is a danger. But Bess can't help herself. Something is not right about this soldier and she feels duty bound to try and figure it out. Even when seriously wounded and unsure who she can trust. It is marvelous.
Griperang72a 26 days ago
This is the first book that I have read in this series. I did good keeping up but I know want to go back and read the entire series. For me having history and mystery all in one book is a hit. The authors do a good job of including lots of details which for me makes me like it even more. I enjoyed following Bess around Paris as she is trying to solve the mystery of the missing officer. The authors did a good job of giving me plenty of twists and turns so you are kept guessing until the end. A fun interesting book for me.